After launching first in Japan on July 15th, Apple has brought its iTunes Pass functionality to the United States. The feature allows you to store iTunes Store credit on a digital gift card in Passbook that can reloaded by an Apple retail employee in-store.
Here’s an explanation of how it works from Apple:
Now you can add money directly to your iTunes or App Store account with iTunes Pass. To get iTunes Pass, go to the iTunes Store on your iOS device, scroll down, and tap the Redeem button. Then go in to any Apple Retail Store3 and let a Specialist know you want to add credit to your account. Open iTunes Pass in Passbook, and have the Specialist scan it and accept your payment. Your balance will be updated and can be used immediately.
So instead of buying a physical gift card, you can just have a barcode scanned in Passbook to have money added to your account. While iTunes Pass probably won’t be used by many, it should streamline the buying experience for those who rely heavily on gift cards to purchase content through the iTunes Store.
iTunes Pass is also available in Australia now, and Apple will likely continue rolling it out to other countries in the days to come.
Apple is working on a full-fledged mobile payments solution that will likely incorporate Touch ID for authentication. Perhaps iTunes Pass is a glimpse of what’s to come: a world where your iPhone really is your wallet too.